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Whole Foods Overcharging Customers
updated: Jun 26, 2014, 10:39 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

The Today Show aired a segment on Whole Foods overcharging California customers on weighed groceries such as deli and salad bar items. Although this overcharging seems to be very rare (only 2% of the time, reportedly), it's enough to make shoppers be more aware when checking out.

Have edhatters noticed if they've ever been overcharged at the Upper State Street Whole Foods store (or other local grocery stores)?

Read a full report on HuffingtonPost.com

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 530786 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 10:54 AM

You mean Whole Paychecks? They rip off their customers with ALL of their prices. Way too expensive.


 COMMENT 530790 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:00 AM

we are overcharged for all our groceries and I'm getting sick of it


 COMMENT 530794P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:06 AM

How would we know? No, really, how....?


 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:17 AM

I believe it was the weighted scales that were off. We would't know unless someone brought in their own scale.

Although for other items purely based on price, just go to another grocery store to see the differences.


 COMMENT 530797 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:18 AM

790 - Food here is still pretty cheap. Wait a while and you will see what expensive really is.


 COMMENT 530799 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:18 AM

@794p. If you read the article, it's clear.


 COMMENT 530802 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:27 AM

They were not subtracting the packaging weight of containers.


 COMMENT 530809 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:36 AM

I agree i think the whole store is over priced


 COMMENT 530812 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:41 AM

If you think the store is overpriced, then don't go there. That's not the point of the story. I shop there regularly. Maybe I've been overcharged, maybe I haven't. If I have, then I'm sure it was only a few cents since those to-go containers just aren't that heavy.


 COMMENT 530813 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 11:42 AM

So I guess now they will start adding a fee for the containers. What's the difference between that and the grocery stores charging for bags?

I doubt if they meant to swindle their customers.


 COMMENT 530821P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 12:03 PM

My local health food store was bought by WF and the early indications are not good as far as customer care is concerned. Checkers "forgetting" to give Sr. discount on Tues/Thurs. that's 10%! I look well over 60, and was never asked by NF, just given 10% off automatically. Now the very same checkers aren't asking, and only will, if prompted. I'm sure that it's company policy, even if "unwritten".

I'll make it a point to ask customer service desk personnel about the containers. Now that a giant corporation is involved, it'll be all about vigilance. Pricing on non-store branded merchandise has gone up by 5-10% on fresh foods, seafood by 20% at least. They're bringing in pre-prepared foods from far-off prep and distribution centers from out of state. Flowers are not local, though our area is crowded with greenhouse cut flowers. Their shipped-in cookies look weeks old. less than 2-3% of their bakery case is made in house. Makes me wonder about their hot foods, too. Shipped in and re-warmed?


 COMMENT 530822P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 12:05 PM

SBSurfer - So, being very alert and conscientious is how. OK, but very, very few people are and that was my point.


 COMMENT 530824 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 12:18 PM

@21, I think that it has become store policy in most stores not to ask if you are eligible for a senior discount. Most 20 somethings think everyone over 40 looks like a senior citizen and there were quite a few women who were outraged over that question. I remember when Ross put up a sign that said you must ask for a senior discount if eligible.


 COMMENT 530830 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 12:31 PM

If you think Whole Foods is too expensive, don't shop there. Speak with your dollars, not anonymously on a website.


 COMMENT 530834 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 12:38 PM

The senior discount used to be for the new frontiers stores that Whole Foods purchased 2 months ago. as for the packaging, there were problems with the Tare weights that the employess are supposed to add when ring up the customer. nothing was done intentially. human error.as for the higher prices, some of you should do your homework. the high prices are for the most part in the meat and seafood. and that pretty obvious why. it takes alot longer for the beef to grow to the proper size as it would for beef to grow with antibiotics, added hormones and the such. the seafood sold is ALL sustainable seafood. therefore higher pricing because of the cost of only fishing using sustainable means. remember, no artificial coloring, flavorings, addatives, and no high fructose corn syrup anywhere in the store. so, if you care whats going into your body, you will either shop Whole Foods, or spend alot of time reading labels at other stores. one more thing... sorry no spell check.


 COMMENT 530839 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 12:56 PM

I've never had a problem there, but then I watch pretty closely as they ring things up.


 COMMENT 530840 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 12:56 PM

797- I said overcharged not expensive. Pay attention if you can afford to:)


 COMMENT 530843P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 01:02 PM

I'm with you, 786. You can't walk out of that silly store without being charged. Oh, and if you don't like my comment, just don't read it :)


 COMMENT 530844P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 01:06 PM

***overcharged*** ^^^


 COMMENT 530857 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 01:18 PM

@34 thanks for the post, that is exactly why many of us choose to shop there. Illness and obesity are expensive too.....I would rather shop at a store that at least gives me healthy choices.

I would like to see more local organic produce though, we have some wonderful growers in the area and that goes for the flowers too.


 COMMENT 530858 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 01:21 PM

I've had stuff rung up incorrectly at almost every grocery store in this area. That's wny I self check wherever it's available then I can only get mad at myself. If you're worried about errors etc - watch the screen while the checker scans - check the receipt. It matters more to some than others. As to Whole Foods, I only needed to go there once to realize that I liked Gelson's better....Whole Foods has too many elements of the toolbox.


 COMMENT 530865 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 01:43 PM

Please call County Weights and Measures at 681-5600 if you think you have been overcharged at WF or anywhere. This is something they take very seriously. Those "few cents" per person add up.


 COMMENT 530895 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 02:27 PM

Whats ridiculous is they got caught and 90% of the fine went to the government agencies who went after them. The public will get to share $100k.... Whoopeeee

And this wasn't a scale issue, it was knowingly charging too much for products.


 COMMENT 530901 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 02:38 PM

I thought overcharging people was the core of their business model.

Skimming the article...OMG, they didn't subtract the 0.03lb of the salad containers! It's almost like those containers cost [gasp] money. Probably also why the deli salads didn't weigh out perfect. And they're selling some prepared foods "by the item" instead of "by weight". So next time you go to subway, demand they weigh your sandwich and charge accordingly because reasons. What a waste of time and money.

Nowhere in the article does it say that their scales were calibrated to cheat the customers.


 COMMENT 530910 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 03:13 PM

They don't over charge me.... I don't shop there. I find Lazy Acres equally expensive but for some reason I feel I get better value so I shop there instead. Eazy peezy.

Judging from the traffic into either of those stores I doubt they will lowering their profit margins any time soon.


 COMMENT 530921 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 03:46 PM

@857…you absolutely do not have to go to Whole Foods for healthy food options and choices….they just want you to believe that. Try a local Farmers Market, or Fisherman's Market down at the harbor for starters. The new Public Market has great stuff too. Don't get me wrong, I like WF and shop there when I can't get to the FM for local produce, but they have masterminded a vibe that some folks go all-in for!


 COMMENT 530938 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 04:41 PM

@857: Tri-County Produce has lots of local organic produce every day of the week, plus bulk foods as well.

Costco has a huge selection of organic meats, organic veggies, organic eggs, organic almond milk, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, etc, etc.

I buy most of my organic food at Costco. Same brands, better prices. Simple.


 COMMENT 530939 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-26 04:42 PM

Aquaholic - The new Public Market makes Whole Foods look like a discount food chain.


 COMMENT 531017P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 01:08 AM

Whole Foods has the best produce around, and that includes the Farmer's Marts.. Everything is super fresh. And if WF says it's "organic," it is. Try taking anything back to a local Farmer's Mart, if you don't like it or think it's subpar.

Whole Foods will return your money, no problem. I love that about WF. Plus the staff are friendly and knowledgable. AND you rarely spend any time at all standing in line. Worth every penny.


 COMMENT 531033 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 06:49 AM

I agree, use your money to shop where you want; it's the only way you can make reasonable change to things you don't like. In regard to scales, you as a customer have no idea if their scales are tared. I don't believe the employees of WF were intentionally doing anything wrong; it was management's oversight. Nevertheless I'm glad they were caught.


 COMMENT 531037 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 06:59 AM

Grocery shopping is a very personal choice and I choose to shop at Whole Foods. For the items I generally choose WF has the best selection and the best prices compared to Gelsons and Lazy Acres. I also support going to Farmers Market on Saturday b/c many of the vendors I like do not go to the other markets. My particular favorite strawberry grower charges $18 for a 3/pack. You can buy them for 1/3 that price from multiple others. Not nearly as good and I elect to spend my $$ on the ones we love. My choice, my money. If you want to complain or just save money, buy the others. Don't tell me/the whole world he's cheating you. I have been cheated plenty of other places and just don't shop there anymore. Seems like a simple solution.


 COMMENT 531039 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 07:00 AM

I wrote this last November in rsponse to an article about Gelson's closing. Please note my comments about Whole Foods.
COMMENT 467038 2013-11-09 10:05 AM
I love gourmet Gelson's! Their deli food items are delicious, their meat and produce are of superior price but also superior quality. They are friendly and helpful and always upfront with their pricing. There are parts of Whole Foods that I like, but BUYER BEWARE!! I have been overcharged on food items at least three times, my daughter overcharged twice, and a family friend overcharged another time. It is always in the deli/meat dept. They post one price, usually a sale item, but charge you the non-sale higher price at the register. I will continue to shop at WF, but I never leave the store without checking my receipt. If push came to shove, I vote in favor of Gelson's, with or without a wine bar.


 COMMENT 531040 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 07:07 AM

Notorious for their high prices, I was shocked to find they offer the best price in town for organic, no preservative added, apple juice. Most places charge between $8 (Costco) and $9 (Lassens) per gallon. Whole Foods charges $6 per gallon and offered an additional 10% discount for buying by the case. Great for me and my homebrewed hard cider hobby!


 ARCHIE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 07:21 AM

I don't go there. The place just feels unpleasant to me.


 COMMENT 531058 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 07:44 AM

821, if You are referring to the Solvang NF store,it was not sold to Whole Foods; only SLO, Flagstaff and Sedona.This info from a close source.


 COMMENT 531060P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 07:58 AM

I've definitely had this problem at the local WF, three times in one visit. First the meat counter guy put in the wrong product number that brought up a higher price per pound. I caught it. Then, at the deli counter, the same thing happened; they put in the wrong code, bringing up a higher priced item. I can't recall what the third one was, but when I tried to locate a manager, they said the store didn't have one. This all happened two years ago, so I rarely go there.


 COMMENT 531084 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 09:02 AM

058; if you read what 834 wrote, you would see that they understood what 821 had said. the owner just wanted to downsize. so he kept the Solvang store. and you also forgot prescott....


 COMMENT 531089 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 09:20 AM

Those complaining about Whole Foods are likely not aware of Whole Foods core values - who they are and what they do to source their food. This is WHY you pay the premium for their food.

WF leads the industry by not just talking local, but by actively sourcing local. They have staff dedicated to sourcing local. They are the only company that truly vetts vendors to ensure they have safe food manufacturing practices, employee safety practices and have an adequate facility, etc.

I am a food supplier and Whole Foods is the ONLY one that took the time to investigate what I was providing them was what I claimed it to be. This is expensive for them to do. They have strict standards for sustainability which greatly limits their selection and makes the food more expensive.

Google "17 things about Whole Foods". Note they pay fair and better wages than their competitors. These are some of the reasons why it costs more.


 COMMENT 531100 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 10:01 AM

I liked Mrs. Gooches!


 COMMENT 531107 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 10:22 AM

I miss Mrs. Gooch's too.

And try googling "whole foods ceo healthcare" and see what their corporate philo$ophy is really all about.


 COMMENT 531121 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 11:07 AM

089-I'm with you, especially re employee pay and benefits.


 COMMENT 531129 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 11:24 AM

When my friend told me about this, I thought she was referring to an article in the Onion.


 COMMENT 531177 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 02:09 PM

107; It is what he say's......


 COMMENT 531261 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-06-27 08:44 PM

Fresh Market often has 1 price in their promotional e-mail and another 1 in the store. Or 1 price on a shelf tag but it rings up as something else. I have mentioned it to manager and yet it still happens. I think all the markets hope we won't notice.


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